This vegan chili recipe is a Tex-Mex-inspired medley of flavors! With its simple preparation, you’ll have a hearty, satisfying meal on the table without any lengthy cooking times AND it’s better than Chipotle.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Hearty and satisfying. I love to pack this dish with beans, vegetables, and flavorful spices, making it a filling and satisfying meal on its own. If you’re looking for the best vegetarian chili recipe, this is also it!
- Customizable. You can tailor the ingredients and spice level to suit your taste, whether you prefer it mild or with an extra kick.
- Nutrient-rich. It’s loaded with plant-based proteins, perfect for vegans and vegetarians alike. There is plenty of fiber, and essential nutrients, making it a wholesome choice.
- Easy to prepare. With straightforward steps and readily available ingredients, vegan chili is a convenient go-to recipe for busy days.
What is vegan chili made of?
- Olive oil. For sautéing the vegetables.
- Vegetables. White onion, carrot, red bell pepper and celery, all provide a wonderfully rich, savory and aromatic foundation to the dish. Not to mention some amazing texture.
- Vegan meat crumbles: Supply a protein-rich, meaty texture. You can make your own with my seitan recipe or I also like to use Beyond Meat Crumbles.
- Tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Intensifies the tomato flavor and thickens the chili.
- Vegetable Broth. Adds moisture.
- Mexican chili spice mix. Infuses the chili with classic southwestern flavors, including garlic, paprika and chili powder.
- Ground cumin. Enhances the overall warmth in the chili.
- Sugar. Balances the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Mixed Beans. Offer a variety of textures, contributing protein and fiber. You can also just use black beans, kidney beans or pinto beans.
- Dark Chocolate. Surprisingly, deepens the flavor profile, providing a subtle richness to the chili.
- Salt. To taste.
- Garnishes and toppings. This part is totally up to you! But I like to serve with some fresh cilantro, avocado, chopped green onion and some cashew sour cream that I usually use for my Mexican quinoa.
How to make vegan chili
Step 1 – Sautee the veggies. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onion, carrot, red bell pepper and celery over medium heat until the onion has turned soft and translucent, and the other veggies have sweated down a bit, about 5-7 minutes.
Step 2 – Add the vegan meat, tomatoes and stock. Add vegan meat crumbles to the pot and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and crushed tomatoes to the pot, stir well and then add the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer.
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Step 3 – Add the spices, beans and chocolate. Once simmering, add in chili spice mix, cumin, sugar, drained can of beans and dark chocolate. Bring back to a simmer, cover with a lid and let cook for 30-35 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender and chili has thickened. Taste and season according to preference.
Step 4 – Serve! Serve with dairy-free cashew sour cream, cilantro, chopped green onion and avocado slices.
Tips to make the best recipe
Use in tacos or nachos. This chili makes an excellent addition to nachos, when layered over corn or tortilla chips with vegan cheese and vegan sour cream on top. You can also use it as filling for vegan tacos and fajitas! Don’t forget a squeeze of lime juice.
Make ahead for depth. Like many stews and chilis, the sauce in this dish will taste even better the next day. Consider making it in advance, letting the flavors meld overnight in a bowl, and reheating when needed.
Meal prep. This is a great meal to keep in the refrigerator for a few days or the freezer for a few weeks, ready to go for an quick and easy lunch or dinner.
To store: Place any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It can be kept for up to 4-5 days.
To freeze: For longer storage, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 2-3 months. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave as needed.
More Mexican-inspired dishes to try
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely, you can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker. Sauté the onions, garlic, and vegan meat crumbles in a pan, then transfer everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
To make it milder, reduce the chili powder or Mexican spice mix. For more heat, add extra chili powder or even a dash of hot sauce.
While the majority of the ingredients in this dish are gluten-free, depending on the type of vegan meat crumbles you add, gluten may be included. You can omit the vegan meat to avoid this.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large white onion diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 1 large red bell pepper diced
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 1 cup vegan meat crumbles Beyond Meat Crumbles
- 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 can crushed tomatoes 14 oz
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 oz Mexican chili spice mix
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 can mixed beans drained
- 1/2 oz dark chocolate
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1/4 cup cashew sour cream
- 1 large green onion chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro chopped
- 1 large avocado
- In a large pot, heat olive oil up and saute the onion, carrot, red bell pepper and celery till onion has turned soft and translucent, and other veggies have sweated down a bit, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add vegan meat crumbles to pot and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste to pot, stir well and then add in your tin of crushed tomatoes andvegetable broth to the pot.
- Bring to a simmer and add in chili spice mix, cumin, sugar, drained can of beans and dark chocolate.
- Bring back to a simmer, cover with a lid and let cook for 30-35 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender and chili has thickened.
- Taste and season according to preference.
- Serve with cashew sour cream, cilantro, chopped green onion and avocado slices.